Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced today that it has appointed Ginny Ehrlich, an expert in childhood health, as director and senior program officer of the Childhood Obesity team, effective July 1. From 2006 to 2013 Ehrlich was CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and more recently served as the Founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, the Clinton Foundation’s newest initiative focused on reducing preventable deaths and closing health inequity gaps in the United States.
Reducing the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has been one of the key goals of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for several years, and it has committed $500 million to achieve that goal—the largest grant in its history. Ehrlich’s breadth of experience working with businesses, community organizations, policy-makers, schools, and government officials to address the many factors affecting childhood health will support and expand the Foundation’s efforts in this area.
“The nation is now at a critical juncture in the movement to prevent childhood obesity—after years of nothing but increasing rates of overweight and obesity among our nation’s children rates of obesity are leveling off and, in a growing number of cities and states, there is evidence that childhood obesity is on the decline,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD. “The challenge now is to ensure that the benefits of progress reach all people, and the appointment of the multi-talented Ginny Ehrlich helps ensure that we meet that challenge.”
While head of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Ehrlich oversaw the transition of the organization, originally a joint venture of the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, to an independent non-profit. She also positioned the Alliance as a national leader in the childhood obesity prevention arena, as evidenced by its distinction as a Founding Member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative.
In 2012 she helped start the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, setting the vision, strategy, and blueprint for the organization and building partnerships with more than 50 corporations and non-profits to support access to health and wellness. And from 2006 to 2008 Ehrlich was founding director of the Healthy Schools Program, what is now the largest school-based obesity prevention effort in the country, active in more than 25,000 schools in all 50 states.
“The battle against childhood obesity has been a key motivating factor throughout my career,” said Ehrlich. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has played a leading role in helping to reverse the trend, and I look forward to developing new solutions and partners that will help us to expand our successes.”
Ehrlich holds a doctorate of education in education leadership and a Master of Science in Special Education, both from the University of Oregon, a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a BA in Community Health Education, from the University of Oregon.